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Sooners top preseason coaches’ poll

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Connecticut v Oklahoma Getty Images

In case you weren’t aware, we unveiled our preseason Top 25 — along with conference-by-conference breakdowns — Wednesday night.

The USA Today coaches’ poll did the same Thursday morning and, suffice to say, they disagreed slightly with the team we placed at the top.  And, with most of the other slotting, actually.

In the coaches’ initial offering for the 2011 season, Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the nation, garnering 42 of the 59 first-place votes on their way to 1,454 points.  At No. 2 is Alabama with 13 first-place votes and 1,414 total points from the coaches.  No. 3 Oregon (2) and No. 4 LSU (2) were the only other teams to receive first-place votes.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Florida State, Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.

Last year’s BcS champion Auburn comes in at No. 19; in last year’s preseason poll, the Tigers were ranked No. 23.  That ranking for Auburn is the lowest for a defending champion since Minnesota was unranked in the early sixties.  TCU, which finished 2010 right behind the champs in the final coaches’ poll, will begin this season at No. 15.

There were five teams not ranked at the end of 2010 who begin 2011 inside the Top 25: No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 22 Georgia, No. 23 Florida, No. 24 Texas and No. 25 Penn State.

Once again, USC is ineligible for the coaches’ poll because of NCAA sanctions.

As expected, the SEC leads all conferences with eight ranked teams, followed by the Big 12 and the Big Ten with five apiece.  The ACC, Mountain West and Pac-12 each had two teams in the preseason poll.  The Big East was the only BcS conference without a ranked team; West Virginia finished second in the “others receiving votes” category.

Below is the coaches’ complete preseason rankings:

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Kansas State defensive back says adios

tanner burns

Just one year after transferring to Kansas State from San Jose State, backup safety Tanner Burns has left the program, team officials tell the Kansas City Star.

Burns moved to Manhattan last year after his father became the secondary coach of the Wildcats. However, Keith Burns has since moved on to a position at Ole Miss.

While at San Jose State, Burns recorded 100 tackles in two seasons, including a team-leading 96 in 2009. He netted two solo tackles in KSU’s spring game.

Kansas State begins fall practice today.

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The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Yes, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

potato

To answer your immediate, two-part question: 1) yes, this is a real name, and 2) no, there aren’t too many bowl games.

But the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (shudder) isn’t a new postseason game; it’s a naming rights change for the Humanitarian Bowl, which was previously sponsored by uDrove.

According to the Idaho Statesman, the Idaho Potato Commission (snicker) signed a six-year naming rights contract with the bowl through 2016. The game will be played on Dec. 17th between members from the WAC and MAC in Boise, Idaho.

The bowl hasn’t revealed what the winner’s trophy will look like, but suffice it to say, I’m very, very afraid. And a little hungry.

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Mizzou flip-flopper not cleared to practice for Tigers — yet

Sheldon Richardson

It’s been a long and windy road for Mizzou JUCO USC Mizzou defensive end commit Sheldon Richardson to finally get on campus and begin practicing for the Tigers.

Unfortunately for Richardson and the Mizzou faithful, this trip isn’t quite over yet.

Although he’s been admitted to the university, the NCAA has yet to clear Richardson on his eligibility, and thus, Richardson will not be able to practice with the team in the immediate future, the Columbia Tribune writes.

According to team spokesman Chad Moller, though, the program expects Richardson to be cleared soon.

Richardson spent the last two years at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. He signed with the Tigers in 2009, but failed to qualify academically. While at College of the Sequoias, Richardson gave a verbal commitment to USC for a brief time before flipping back to the Tigers.

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Georgia Tech D-lineman reportedly forced to hang up the cleats

Georgia Tech logo

There’s some pretty unfortunate news coming out of the Georgia Tech camp as it looks like redshirt freshman defensive lineman Denzel McCoy will have to give up his college football dreams.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, McCoy was not cleared for fall practice by team medical staff because of an undisclosed medical condition. As an even harder punch to the gut, this news comes after McCoy had spent the summer practicing and working out with his teammates.

“He’s probably finished career-wise,” coach Paul Johnson said following the practice. “It’s disappointing for Denzel, but we’ve got to look out for his well-being and his health, and it’s just not worth the risk.

“You’re disappointed for him. He’s such a great kid. He’s got a great attitude, and we just tell him, ‘Hey, there’s bigger things than football.’”

McCoy will still be on scholarship as he continues his education at Georgia Tech and will likely sign on as a student assistant. Still, it’s heartbreaking when a kid has to give up something he loves because of something over which he has no control.

All the best to McCoy in the future.

 

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James Rodgers cleared to practice ‘on limited basis’

Oregon State v Arizona Getty Images

Honest to goodness, with all the conference projections and preseason top-25 work John and I have been furiously chopping away at for the past week-plus, I forgot there were, you know, other things going on in this world.

To put it in perspective: Andrew Luck didn’t shave his beard; it migrated to my face.

Okay. Gross.

But I digress…

Another Pac-12 program will be getting one of their star players back for preseason camp. It will, however, be on a limited basis. According to a statement from Oregon State coach Mike Riley, the Oregonian reports that wide receiver James Rodgers has been cleared to practice by doctors, but the extent of which he will be able to participate is vague.

“After consultation with the physician, James Rodgers has been cleared to practice in a limited fashion for a to-be-determined amount of time,’’ Riley said in the statement.

“We will have more information after another meeting with the physican and (OSU training staff) at some point next week.’’

Rodgers, who has been slowly recovering from a season-ending knee injury last October, has undergone two operations to repair the damage. Still, his return in any capacity for the 2011 season has — and for the immediate future, will — remain a question mark.

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